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New research: violent videogames have no effect on social behaviour.



Researchers Morgan Tear and Mark Nielsen at the University of Queensland in Australia found it rather odd that the results of past studies had shown that “…playing a classic prosocial video game resulted in heightened prosocial behaviour when compared to a control group, whereas playing a classic violent video game had no effect” given the fact that many recent studies have reported to have found a causal link between violent video games and violent behaviour.

These researchers used 3 experiments to obtain their findings.

In the first experiment, 64 participants were exposed to 4 different kinds of videogames: anti-social (Grand Theft Auto IV); violent (Call of Duty: Black Ops); prosocial (World of Zoo) and non-violent (Portal 2). This experiment was designed to test the hypothesis that positive social behaviour would be higher in participants who played the prosocial games and lower in participants who played the anti-social games.

The results showed that there was no difference in behaviour on the part of the participants, regardless of whether they had been exposed to violence-present or violence-absent games.

I won’t discuss the others in enormous detail because I think that this article may turn into something intimidatingly tl;dr if I do so, but for those of you who are interested, you can find the full research paper here.

Ultimately, Tear and Nielsen concluded that:

"We failed to find evidence that playing video games affects prosocial behavior. Research on the effects of video game play is of significant public interest…It is therefore important that speculation be rigorously tested and findings replicated. Here we fail to substantiate conjecture that playing contemporary violent video games will lead to diminished prosocial behaviour."

Perhaps this recent trend of positive feedback regarding our favourite activity means that we can start to look at the societal and personal factors that lead to the perpetration of tragedy instead of pointing fingers at the wrong scapegoats.

Here's hoping.

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